Tonight I unpublished The Dead Girl I Like Heart and Stuff because of my concerns that the story may have been insensitive to and hurtful to the transgender community of which I am an ally and would never intend to harm.

That book was the fourth in the Me and My Friend Maddie Gothic Book Series, and in it Maddie is dating a young man named Jackie whom she later discovers was assigned female at birth. Her reaction is one of surprise and initially negative and though she detests her reaction, she cuts ties with him. In the end, it was our narrator, her unnamed BFF who helps her see that love is love and she reconnects with him.

My intention when setting out to write this book was to tell a story where Maddie, who in the previous three books always taught her BFF between right and wrong, was herself flawed and would now learn from her usually ignorant BFF. I believe I accomplished making her flawed, but that the writing ultimately fell short of its aim to be supportive of the transgender character in the book and the transgender community at large. I mistakenly took on a subject which I was not and am not an authority, and which the space and style of the book could not adequately serve as a forum for all its variation and complexities.

I was first made aware of my mistake in 2015, the book’s publication year, when Gothic Beauty Magazine declined to review it because they felt the book was uninformed and insensitive toward the transgender community. Though this book received good reviews from the few readers who posted reviews, this assessment of it being uninformed and insensitive to the transgender community has always hung over me as a failure to support a population I love.

In December of 2019, I published a revised version which removed text and extended the ending of the previous version, showing conclusively that Maddie and Jackie remained a couple. But even since December of last year, as my own education and awareness related to the transgender community continues to grow, I feel the amended version is still not adequate nor helpful. I have decided to unpublish it because I do not want to put forth or circulate anything that in any way can be read as unsupportive of the transgender community which I value greatly and consider vital to our society.

I apologize to anyone, reader or not, whom my book may have harmed, offended, or excluded, due to my shortcomings as an author. It was never my intention to be anything other than supportive. I not only regret writing the story the way I did, but I also regret that it took me this long to realize the best course of action was to unpublish it. Like Maddie and her BFF, I am full of flaws.

Robert Tomoguchi
November 24, 2020